The reverse brain drain and the web industry

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Published: 06th February 2017
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The world, especially the technology industry has changed a lot since the colonization days. It was a journey that started with the Civil War in North America and ceased with the freedom struggles of many nations that were former colonies of England, Netherlands, France and Portugal - the erstwhile maritime superpowers of Europe.
Globalization and market forces have shaped the IT industry like many other sectors, and many of the so called ‘first world' nations have become highly dependent on the highly skilled IT workforces of the ‘third world' countries. The once snob attitude diminished highly when technology companies from the developed countries realized that in order to stay competitive, it is imperative that they cut down the cost associated with workforce. For them, the only feasible way to achieve their goals is to resort to cheap but skilled ‘knowledge workers' from those countries which were once their colonies.
With the passage of time, IT companies from the less developed companies began providing world-class service at extremely low costs and companies from developed nations were prudent enough to exploit these opportunities. They outsourced the low and mid-level IT jobs to these service providers and in turn, the service providers churned out number games that were unthinkable in the Europe and America, given the salaries that native workers in these continents demanded.
On the other hand, skilled workers from the third world countries started immigrating to the first world countries for short-term, mid-term and long-term assignments. Some stayed back there and got permanent citizenship status. For them, the gain was huge in terms of living standards and salaries. But they had to pay a price - they were perceived as aliens in those foreign lands by the locals, who feared that outsourcing will eat up their jobs and thus possessed an anti-immigrant attitude. In spite of corporate policies and political liaison, this sort of mentality is still highly prevalent, although not acknowledged publicly by either party to maintain the status quo.
However, an inevitable change started gathering momentum when economic forces and political landscapes changed and the scale started shifting towards the third world countries. These countries realized the benefits of embracing globalization and gave up on their regulation agenda. As a result, foreign capital started flowing in the form of joined ventures, subsidiary companies and foreign direct investment, resulting in an unprecedented level of job creation in these countries.
Most of these jobs were white collar jobs with high salaries and this trend started attracting local talents, who were earlier allured by the golden promises of foreign shores. They started taking pride in working within a global environment and at the same time contribute towards the growth of their own countries. Also, many of the immigrants started longing to return to their country of origin to capitalize on the tidal wave and bubbling energy.
The result was that the third world countries that were once neglected by their own tech talents started flourishing in terms of a highly evolved business environment that is conducive to entrepreneurship. Many of their own people gave up their foreign citizenships and permanent work permits to come down to their home land and form a start-up. Although not acknowledged publicly, many high level talents are often poached by job hunters and lured to executive positions of hot start-ups with million dollar salaries.
This reverse brain-drain, as attributed by many social researchers, is inspiring local talents to take the risk of entrepreneurship. In the IT sector, this is resulting in numerous small companies being formed every single day. With the wealth of experience that they have gathered while staying and working in the advanced nations, these risk-takers are forging their way to success and glory.
More often than not, such enterprises start as a small web design company offering customized designs of websites in niche segments but at low prices. Low cost web development is also the flavor of the season, as people in advanced nation have recognized the fact that having a website for their businesses or even personal reasons is a big plus in a highly competitive environment. Overall, it is a very good sign that the equation is changing for the better, as competition will surely propel highly innovative business models and add unique values to the IT industry.


The author, Jeo Nash, owns a web design company that also offers low cost web development for global clients. As a partner of a premier IT firm called GOIGI, Jeo Nash has vast experience of the IT industry and has worked in 29 different countries.

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